Helplessly hoping

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:03 AM ET

All we know right now is the clock is ticking and proposals are being kicked around.

With Wednesday the NHL trade deadline, the Manitoba Moose are in a holding pattern as they wait to see what the parent Vancouver Canucks decide to do with their roster.

Reports coming out of Vancouver suggest the Canucks plan to be buyers, but at what price?

General manager Mike Gillis wants to add a player or two to take a run at the Stanley Cup, but says he won't mortgage the future for a rental player.

So what impact will the Canucks moves have on the Moose for the stretch drive?

Moose head coach Scott Arniel put on a brave face earlier this week.

"If they're buyers, it probably means they're going to try and pick up some depth and depth probably helps us -- though I'm not sure what they'll have to give up to get that depth," said Arniel. "All of the teams in the hunt right now to make a (playoff) spot want to upgrade, but it's tough to make deals."

Arniel didn't plan to address the issue with his team.

"Pretty much everybody has been through it before," said Arniel. "It's nothing new. It's the life of a hockey player."

That life includes being subjected to countless rumours.

Shortly after winger Michael Grabner was recalled on Thursday, blogs and message boards were speculating the Canucks were planning to showcase their 2006 first round choice (14th overall) as trade bait.

"You just have to wait and see," said Grabner. "If they think they need another guy or a specific piece of the puzzle for them to be competitive in the Stanley Cup playoff and they've got to give me away, there's nothing you can do about it. It's not really in my hands."

Uncertainty

Forward Jason Jaffray admits there is always an element of uncertainty.

"This year it's a little bit more nerve-racking because Vancouver has a great team and new management, so you never know what is going to happen," said Jaffray. "If they want to add another player, hopefully it doesn't affect the Moose too much."

Defenceman Nolan Baumgartner, who rejoined the Moose last year prior to the AHL clear-day roster freeze after a loan agreement was worked out, believes it's business as usual in the days leading up to the deadline.

"It's probably on the back of everybody's mind," said Baumgartner. "It's always there, but you can't worry about it. All you have to do is go out and play hard. It's management who make those decisions."

That's all true, but Baumgartner the hockey fan will be watching all the moves in earnest next Wednesday.

"I will be tuned in to see what's going on," said Baumgartner.

"It's like a holiday here in Canada. You can turn the TV on at 7 in the morning and trade centre is on all day."

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca


Photos